i'll tell you my experience after the jump! (click below)
as many of you know, i have had the hardest time getting jude to sleep through the night. but i just want to tell you that...he's sleeping through the night! yes, after thirteen months of sleepless nights, i have finally enjoyed almost an entire week of eight full hours of sleep. do you know what that feels like? heaven.
so i'll spare you the details of the past thirteen months, and just tell you a few things that i learned through the experience.
1. the sooner, the easier. of course, the first two to three months or so, you can't expect your baby to sleep through the night. he needs to eat, have his diaper changed, etc. but i didn't really try to let jude cry it out until he was older (around six months). i think that was my biggest mistake. once he learned how to stand up in his crib, trying to get him to just cry himself back to sleep was basically impossible. i did try it when he was younger, but i just wasn't consistent with it. i think if i had been, he might have started sleeping through the night sooner. maybe.
2. create a bedtime routine. this sounds so obvious, and i had always planned on doing this, but with steve and my crazy schedules, it was hard at first to create a bedtime routine and stick with it. also, i wasn't sure when to start implementing one. but again, i think the sooner the better. the younger they learn, the more likely it is to stick. our bedtime routine is standard and easy: we brush his teeth, bathe him, get him in his pajamas, let him play in his room for a little bit, read a few books, nurse him and then put him down. at first he would scream for a while after we turned out the lights and left him, but now he goes down without any fuss. a bedtime routine helps him calm down, and he's learned what to expect.
3. don't compare your baby to anyone else's. just because your niece started sleeping through the night at three months doesn't mean your baby will. and just because someone swears by a certain trick or technique doesn't mean it will work for you. you know your baby better than anyone else, so listen to people's advice, try it out if you want, and if it doesn't work, don't get too frustrated, and definitely don't feel like your baby is abnormal because playing baby beethoven through the night didn't make your baby stay asleep.
those are the big three. a few other things: for jude's birthday, my in-laws gave him a build-a-bear. he loves that thing. and it helps him fall asleep. i think he just likes something to grab onto and cuddle. also, putting him to bed earlier, helped him sleep longer. i used to think, "hey if i'm gonna be up, i might as well let him stay up, that way we'll all just go to bed at the same time, and i can sleep in longer." ha, no. even if he didn't seem tired, he was, and keeping him up, trying to "wear him out" just made him exhausted, cranky and belligerent. one more thing: when he was really tiny, and was waking up all the time because he really needed to eat, my sister gave me a good tip (which seems obvious now, but i never thought about it). she said when he wakes up, go in his room, don't turn on any lights, don't say anything, and don't comfort him too much. just nurse him, and when he's done, put him right back down. that helped jude understand that nighttime was sleep time.
see what i mean about the bear?
anyway, i feel like i could talk about this forever, because it has been such an ordeal for steve and i over the past year. but i want to know your experience. was it similar? if you have multiple kids did it get easier after the first? do you have a bedtime routine? how old was your little one when you finally got a good night's sleep? i want to know!